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Joe Manganiello’s Big Bang Theory Cameo Has Some Deep Cut D&D References

Joe Manganiello in The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory's Dungeons & Dragons-centric episode brought in a lot of guest stars, such as Wil Wheaton, William Shatner, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Kevin Smith and Joe Manganiello. Manganiello, however, took the opportunity to showcase his genuine love for the role-playing game by sporting a couple of D&D-inspired merchandise.

For those who are not familiar with it, D&D is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game first published in 1974 and is dubbed as the start of modern role-playing. Over the years, we've seen Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) engage in a session - at one point, even Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) got into it thanks to Sheldon creating a special version of the game just for her. However, this is the first time that they've brought in this many guest stars for the sole purpose of playing the game.

Related: Big Bang Theory May Have (Finally) Solved Leonard & Penny's Baby Drama

In The Big Bang Theory's season 12's 16th episode (out of its final 24) titled "The D & D Vortex," the boys discovered that Wil has been hosting a secret celebrity D&D night. Motivated to get invited after learning that Shatner was one of the guests, Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj cornered Stuart (Kevin Sussman), who was surprisingly invited. In the end, Stuart decided to drop out, paving the way for Leonard to take his spot. But since he's such a tattletale, Wil found out that he blabbed about the secret session and was kicked out of the D&D party. In a fun twist, it was the girls who were able to get in after they harassed Wheaton to let them meet the "Magic Mike" star. The episode didn't see much of the cast and guests actually playing the game - the guys weren't even able to have a seat at the table aside from Leonard. Nevertheless, it was a great episode full of laughs and lots of homage to the iconic board game - partly because of Manganiello.

During the show, the actor wore a few pieces from Death Saves streetwear inspired by the game. Manganiello sported the shop's D&D '80s Cartoon Dragon Shield T-Shirt which the design is based on the title card of the CBS Saturday morning cartoon Dungeons & Dragons, which ran from 1983 to 1985 for 27 episodes. The show centered on six friends transported to the titular realm where they were subjected to different adventures as they find a way to get home with the help of the Dungeon Master. The shirt costs $35 and is still available online. He donned the the sold out Vecna Whispered One SS T-Shirt from the same retailer as well. Known to be one of the greatest villains in the game, Vecna was a powerful wizard who became a lich.

Aside from casual tees, the Justice League actor was also spotted sporting Death Saves' Gold Knight Ring during his The Big Bang Theory guesting. Created by jeweller Geoff Thomas, the item is inspired by Saint Kargoth, the death knight of great power from World of Greyhawk whose symbol is a glowing green skull. The character is also known as the Betrayer and King of the Death Knights. The ring, however, is for hardcore D&D loyalists only as it doesn't come cheap. It retails for a whopping $3200 and is made to order only with 4-5 weeks lead time from casting to delivery.

Manganiello has been vocal about his love for D&D. Still, it continues to surprise people considering that he doesn't really fit the assumed profile of those who are genuinely engrossed with the game. This idea has often been pointed out over the years in The Big Bang Theory with the guys often being made fun of for their ridiculous obsession with the game.

With such a star-studded episode, it will be interesting to see if the show has any other plans to bring in more guests in its remaining episodes. The Big Bang Theory had a lot of cameos in the last 12 years, it will be fun to see some of them return for its final year.

More: Big Bang Theory Is Using Penny & Leonard To Distract From The Weaker Stories

The Big Bang Theory air Thursday nights on CBS.

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